Cloud computing and virtualized infrastructures are currently the baseline environments for the provision of services in different application domains. While the number of service consumers increasingly grows, service providers aim at exploiting infrastructures that enable non-disruptive service provisioning, thus minimizing or even eliminating downtime. Nonetheless, to achieve the latter current approaches are either application-specific or cost inefficient, requiring the use of dedicated hardware. In this paper we present the reference architecture of a fault-Tolerance scheme, which not only enhances cloud environments with the aforementioned capabilities but also achieves high-performance as required by mission critical every day applications. To realize the proposed approach, a new paradigm for memory and I/O externalization and consolidation is introduced, while current implementation references are also provided.